You May Just Save the World.
One of the things that I love about the Suzuki Method and Philosophy is the culture of love, acceptance, and beauty. By sharing our love of music, we are in essence sharing our love of the world. In this time of turmoil, hatred, and violence, nothing can be more important than sharing music, sharing love, and by responding to violence with increased empathy and kindness.
This quote by Leonard Bernstein has been shared many times on social media over the past week.
“This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.”
In the past weeks, I have honestly been wondering if I should have done something different with my life. I am ashamed to admit it. Sometimes, teaching violin feels like a thankless job. I’ve been asked when I am going to get a “real job.” I struggle to get parents and students to take me seriously at times. My overuse injuries act up and cause pain. I know now how they could have been avoided, but I have to deal with the consequences every day. I think…maybe I should have done something that would really make a difference.
This may seem strange, but the upheaval facing the world of late, in France, Syria, Beirut, Japan and more, has actually strengthened my resolve to keep pressing on. To keep teaching violin, despite how unforgiving and even punishing that it can be. To continue to teach children of their magnificent power to do hard things. To accomplish something they never could before, that maybe, they never thought possible.
Pablo Casals, famously said, “Perhaps it is music that will save the world.” It won’t save the world with a straight bow, and flawless intonation. Nor will a beautiful bow hand or relaxed left arm bring about world peace. So how? How will “music save the world?”
I think my problem has been that I have been aiming at the wrong target. I have been too focused on how my students play instead of why. I love the quotes of Dr. Suzuki. I think these two are particularly relevant.
“Our aim needs to be the nurturing of children. The moment we rigidly convince ourselves, “Education is what we’re after,” we warp a child’s development. First foster the heart, then help the child acquire ability. This is indeed nature’s proper way.”
In the end, that is what we must do. Through music we can teach children to have the perseverance and grit they need to overcome the inevitable sadness and disappointments of this life. By teaching children to honestly assess their performance, and adjust accordingly, we help them learn integrity and adaptability. By teaching children beautiful music from around the world, we give them connection to the past and to the world around them. What we do is important. In fact, it’s vital.
While we should include the national anthems of all of the countries suffering today, I will let this version of Le Marseillaise suffice–the one from Two Grenadiers.
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